"No Way Out" as written by and Peter Gabriel....
Saw a group of people forming
Round a figure lying down
And someone runs to make a phone call
And the man kneels on the ground
The man kneels on the ground
The man kneels on the ground
There's a tightening in my chest,
I know that I'm drawn in
Oh god let it not be, you

Don't leave us
Don't leave like this
Don't leave me here again
I'm not quitting on you
There's no one else
You're not quitting on us
No running out

The color in your shirt is darkening,
Against the paleness of your skin
I remember how you held the goldfish
Swimming around in a plastic bag
Swimming around in a plastic bag
You held it up so high
In the bright lights of the fair
It slipped and fell
We looked everywhere

Don't leave us (your eyes are bright, your blood is warm)
Don't leave like this (your heart is strong, you're holding on)
Don't leave me here again (I feel your pulse, I hold your hand)
I'm not quitting on you
There's no one else
You're not quitting on us
There's no way out
No way out
Don't leave us
Don't leave like this
Don't leave me here again (I feel your pulse, I hold your hand)
I'm not quitting on you
There's no one else
You're not quitting on us
No running away, no way out


Lyrics submitted by mike_patton

"No Way Out" as written by Peter Gabriel

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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No Way Out song meanings
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11 Comments

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  • +1
    General Commentthis song has a strong meaning to me, its about someone dying as far as i can tell, and its an unexpected death, not the death of an old or sick person. my best friend died some time ago and me and my other friends were there with him, and when i heard this song the first time it hit me like a wall, because it brought back the feeling of helplessness i felt watching him go, where all you can do is think of old times and ask that they not go away. any song that makes you feel , i mean really FEEL an emotion is amazing, to me this is one of those songs.
    Junkheadon April 17, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General CommentSimilar to "I Grieve" from the same Album, I think there is a glimpse of desperate hope in the end.
    For me, the Title refers to the wounded person trying to escape life. But there is "no running away - no way out". The narrator won't let him/her go.
    Germon June 10, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think this is about a parent and child. It seems too personal to be just some person seen dying. (e.g. "I remember how you held the goldfish") Mentions of how the person is young and strong and the memory of the goldfish at the fair would denote a parent/child relationship. And further, it's these strange things you think about when someone you love is in danger/dying. You remember the stupid things. The things that didn't seem important at the time, but define that person to you...and will be missed if/when they're gone. This song is defiant cry against death not taking away what you hold dear. Don't leave us! You don't get out that easy...
    hollowmython May 18, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI believe this is about witnessing an accident, and battling the fears that it could be someone close to you. Daughter/son perhaps? It may be a personal experience Gabriel had at some time, and the first verse describes it. The rest is making up how he would react if it indeed was someone close.

    A good deal of the songs on Up is about various aspects of death, and this is no exception. Great song.
    olem77on October 29, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI agree that the song has a hope to it. This is almost a fighter's song in the sense that the singer is also supporting the person's whose life is on the line. It's a song about the fight for life, and the line "I feel your pulse, I hold your hand" best exemplifies the hope in it.
    Cotygeekon January 27, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI loved the song for years, but only now bothered to look at the lyrics (I'm absolutely horrible at lyrics.. aspbergers or something). I knew it was a sad tune, but shit this makes me sad.
    justmmikeon June 01, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is a very moving song about talking to someone who is mortally wounded in order to keep them alive. The story is of someone who has most probably been shot or stabbed in the street. People are gathered around helping, making phone calls, comforting. It is obvious the victim has been shot or stabbed as the colour of the victims shirt darkens with their own blood against their skin, paling through loss of the same blood. There is desperate realisation when the singer is ‘drawn in’ to the situation as he recognises this is a person he knows
    @nthonyon July 07, 2012   Link
  • 0
    Song MeaningThis is a very moving song about talking to someone who is mortally wounded in order to keep them alive. The story is of someone who has most probably been shot or stabbed in the street. People are gathered around helping, making phone calls, comforting. It is obvious the victim has been shot or stabbed as the colour of the victims shirt darkens with their own blood against their skin, paling through loss of the same blood. There is desperate realisation when the singer is ‘drawn in’ to the situation as he recognises this is a person he knows
    @nthonyon July 07, 2012   Link
  • 0
    Song MeaningThis was used at a lot of AIDs fund raisers when the song came out. Their were lots of people dying and the gay community was shattered with illness, but was fighting for servival.This is how I remember the song being used.


    Saw a group of people forming ( group of people represent the Gay Community
    Round a figure lying down gathered around individuals stricken with aids)
    And someone runs to make a phone call (Calls from the Community for gov./med. help)
    And the man kneels on the ground
    The man kneels on the ground ( Prayers)
    The man kneels on the ground ( Prayers)
    There's a tightening in my chest,
    I know that I'm drawn in ( the Author is compassionate/loves the ill person)
    Oh god let it not be, you

    Don't leave us
    Don't leave like this ( don’t die , hold on )
    Don't leave me here again ( not the first time to lose someone to aids )
    I'm not quitting on you
    There's no one else ( so many dying )
    You're not quitting on us
    No running out

    The color in your shirt is darkening, ( the contrast between health and sickness)
    Against the paleness of your skin
    I remember how you held the goldfish
    Swimming around in a plastic bag ( the innocence lost, a small community
    Swimming around in a plastic bag shattered by sickness)
    You held it up so high
    In the bright lights of the fair
    It slipped and fell
    We looked everywhere ( a community forever changed )

    Don't leave us (your eyes are bright, your blood is warm) ( Hope )
    Don't leave like this (your heart is strong, you're holding on) ( Hope )
    Don't leave me here again (I feel your pulse, I hold your hand) ( Hope)
    I'm not quitting on you
    There's no one else ( don’t die )
    You're not quitting on us
    There's no way out ( no cure )
    No way out
    Don't leave us
    Don't leave like this
    Don't leave me here again (I feel your pulse, I hold your hand)
    I'm not quitting on you ( struggle and fight against the terminal illness)
    There's no one else ( so many dying )
    You're not quitting on us
    No running away, no way out ( no cure , hold on for the cure )
    Rdlogginson August 15, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentTo me, it sounds like a frantic parent after their child gets run over by a car. Or perhaps getting hurt in some other way? This is one of those songs I can't even listen to any more, because it just brings me to tears just thinking about it.

    I read somewhere that one of PG's daughters almost died for some reason back while he was with Genesis. When she recovered, he realized that what he was missing, and that is what sowed the seeds in his mind for him wanting to leave the band. Maybe this song is a tribute to that event from long ago?
    invol713on December 19, 2012   Link

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